A very interesting discovery is currently on display as part of Game Time!, a new exhibit at the National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY: a hand typed Dungeons & Dragons manuscript from 1973. The manuscript, named the Dalluhn Manuscript after a previous owner, was loaned to the museum by author and game collector Jon Peterson. Peterson indicates, “It captures the system at around the midpoint of development, with the core concepts of dungeon exploration and fantastic combat in place, but it lacks some features of the mature game and exhibits a few intriguing variations.”
From the museum:
Devoted wargamers Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson modified a war game and developed their role-playing game system, marketed under the name Dungeon & Dragons, beginning in 1974. The game helped pave the way to later electronic games and gaming systems, not to mention the massively multiplayer online role-playing games themselves. The Dalluhn Manuscript, two hand-typed volumes most likely authored by Gygax and Arneson in spring of 1973, is on display in Game Time! and is thought to be either a play testing document or a prototype example serving as a model for the more finished product released the next year. Some experts believe this manuscript to be the earliest existing version of Dungeons & Dragons.